I became utterly convinced of the importance of having a readily accessible place for creative renewal, somewhere that triggers a shift in mentality when you cross its threshold. It has encouraged me to look into building something similar in my own backyard.”
Gregory Martin is an expert on Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. For his fellowship project, Martin decided to take his research even further. He immersed himself in the environment of his research subject by traveling to Bergen, Norway with his family. There, he had a private tour of Grieg’s home, strolled down the very paths once walked by the renowned composer, witnessed the nature that inspired Grieg, and read his letters and original manuscripts at the Bergen Public Library. “Grieg was very much inspired by the landscape of his country,” Martin said, “and would often go to the mountains to enter into a fairytale, as he said, and ‘bathe in the timelessness.’” Perhaps this fairytale-esque environment contributed to one of the most surprising moments of Martin’s fellowship: when his second child, who was suspected to need therapy to learn to walk, took his first confident steps while in Bergen.
Martin’s adventures spanned out of Bergen, from Norway’s Osterfjord to locations around Copenhagen. “It was a wonderful experience all around, and being surrounded by that inspiring landscape, and walking the cobblestone walkways and pedestrian streets of two gorgeous cities that fit so perfectly with my personal aesthetic, afforded the same sort of rejuvenation that Grieg sought in these locations; it truly opened up that sense of childlike wonder that is at the heart of his music.”
The discoveries Martin made on his journey have greatly aided his research, which has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed periodical Music & Letters. He is currently working on a Grieg symposium that will invite internationally-known experts to perform and lecture at the University of Indianapolis, and in the summer he will give a lecture and recital on the great composer and his music.